My name is Aizat, 31. I had a history of long working hours, plenty of food and comfort in all aspects of life, late night hangout at local “Mamaks” (popular Indian hangout restaurants which open 24hrs), not much physical activity and live in Malaysia, which has the highest obesity rate in Asia.
Years of this ballooned my weight to 220kg. I would lie if I told you that I didnt see it coming but slowly the weight started to take over the quality of my life. Restaurant chair were too small. The sight of stairs became frightful. As a person who loves life and traveling, bus or plane seats became inadequate. Not to mention the faces of passengers who feared that I would be seated next to them. As a person of faith, even praying became a liability.
But despite all of these, I couldn’t quite put my head around it. I couldnt recount the number of times I asked myself “is this my faith?” “Am i destined to be obese?” I even convinced myself that what really matters is a person’s interior and not the exterior.
Turning point 2013: Mama
For years my mum tried to get me to change, to move, to wake and step out of my shell. For years I brushed her advice to the side til one day she said: “Aizat, wake up my son. Yes I can take care of you now but who will bear with you when I die?”
Those words cut me deep and stick with me til today. Not because i was fearful of finding someone who would care for me. But I needed to honor my mothers love. To find a way to return the endless love and care she has for me BEFORE its too late.
That was the ultimate turning point in my weight loss journey. From that day, I was determined to lose weight. For myself but also for Mama. 2014 was just around the corner so yeah, like most people my new years resolution for 2014 was clear.
…”I knew I am going to need guidance along my journey. Wanted to lose weight alone wasnt going to get it done”…
Via some friends, I came across a 6-week educational weight loss program called Jom Kurus (malay for lets lose weight), pioneered by Kevin Zahri, a local fitness celebrity here in Malaysia.
I quickly signed up. Although its not free (RM300 or approx USD75), it provided me with the tools (ebooks, videos, group activities, seminars etc) to take control of my life.
To be honest, the beginnings were tough. But but being surrounded fellow participants, who struggled themselves and share the same goal, the tough got easier.
15 Tips That Helped me Lose 125kg
Along my 18mth journey, I learned many plenty about nutrition, fitness, recovery and so much more. So to help and inspire those who are reading this, i would like to outline what I practiced and learned:
1) Change for self. My beloved Mama was the turning point but I realized that I needed to make the changes for myself. This I believe is key for sustainable weight management that will last a lifetime. Afterall, you will always be stuck with “you”.
2) Surround yourself with people who are positive and share a similar objective. Not everyone in your circle is going to be supportive.
3) Know-how is crucial. There are endless fitness gurus out there. Find someone who suits your lifestyle. I chose Kevin Zahri for his educational ebooks and practical video guides, and Jom Kurus because the entire program is build around moderation and empowered me to build my own diet and choose my own lifestyle.
4) Find your own path. It does not matter if one loses 10kg or 5kg per month. People often get fixated on the progress of others. Find your own comfort zone (food, exercise and fun) so that you can sustain that progress and lifestyle forever.
5) Build your own diet. Through my journey, I learned about calorie management, atkins, paleo, blood type and all other trends. Learning is great but the key message to remember is NOT to follow any diet. Build your own based on your own needs and habits.
6) 70:30. Weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Think about it: daily we consume some 2000kcal but a decent workout probably burns 500kcal. This again is why I believe in building my own (Malaysian) diet but that helps me manage my calorie intake without leaving me frustrated and stressed.
7) Drink plenty of water. Its calorie free and helps me to minimize water retention. how much? i drank some 4liters but I was/am a big guy. Lyour requirements may differ.
8) I reduced sugar, salt and oil. Why? Less sugar helped stabilize my cravings. Less salt reduces water retention, stress and blood pressure while less oil, helps to reduce my overall calorie intake (1g oil = 9kcal)
9) Reduced simple carbohydrates. I know this is a popular diet trend but many don’t really know why. I learned that simple carbohydrates or simple sugars (which are everywhere) spike insulin level and create havoc for your cravings and fat storage. So I did the follwing 2 things: I kept my per meal carbohydrate serving size to a fistful. 2ndly I tried to opt for fiberous carbohydrates. Of course I had cheat days but I choose a balance that works best for me.
10) Green tea. I learned that its calorie free (like other teas) and the caffeine helps to boost my metabolism.
11) I snack in between meals with fruits and nuts (in moderation) to keep my cravings in check. When my cravings are in check, your daily calorie intake is going to thank you later.
12) Exercise? In the beginning the focus was to keep active. At 220kg mobility was not easy but my Jom Kurus group were detrimental to keep me moving – even it means walking or doing half mini squats. The more you do, the more your burn. I didnt exercise daily – about 3x per week. Some low impact cardio like stationary bike, circuit training and light aerobics.
13) Supplements? In Malaysia, weight loss supplements are everywhere as everyone is looking for a quick fix (but are often left disappointed and exploited). Did I try any. Sure I tried a fat burner as many others often do. Did they help? No – I felt my weight loss progress with or without the fat burner was really the same and stopped using them after a short period. I learned that supplement may help but they are NOT the key to sustainable weight loss.
14) Cravings? Sure I had plenty of cravings along my journey. Food is joy. I personally am a dessert junkie. So did I indulge along the way? Haha I wouldn’t say I had a slice daily but I rewarded myself perhaps weekly with a small piece of heaven or shared it with a friend or family. You see, once you understand your calorie needs and say have a daily calorie budget of 1500kcal, a 200kcal piece of cake or chocolate is NOT going to ruin that.
15) Plateau? My 125kg weight loss journey was not all smooth sailing.
? Jan 2014 – Jun 2014 = 220kg to 160kg (weight loss 60kg)
? Julai 2014 – Dis 2014 = 160kg to 138kg (weight loss 22kg)
? Jan 2015 – Mac 2015 = 138kg to 128kg (weight loss 10kg)
? April 2015 – Jun 2015 = 128kg to 95kg (weight loss 33kg)
As you can see, I lose some 60kg in the first 6 month but progress slowed from there. I got a lot of good advice from trainers around me to help breakthrough my plateaus. How?
– Diet adjustments: I learned that as I lost weight, my body’s requirement for food/energy would drop as well. Hence, I slowly reduced my calorie intake along my journey.
– Exercise became routine. Hence my body did not quite get that ’kick’ it once did in the beginning. To push my body further, i slowly increased my workout intensity, starting participating in runs, started weight training and really just experimenting with different workout regimes. This not only did wonders for my weight loss and physical transformation but also kept my mind fresh and motivated.
– Rest. Exercise and dieting can be stressful and stress adds fat. I learned to take breaks in between and allow my body, mind and soul to refuel.
That basically covers it all. I sincerely hope that my story can inspires as many people as possible. Obesity is a global epidemic but the solution lies in your own hands. No one else can do it for you. I can’t stress enough how important know-how and positive surroundings was along my journey.
Remember “No pain No Gain. Pain is temporary, pride is forever”
Aizat Razak, 2015